TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy Airport
Having grown up within miles from John F. Kennedy Airport, I eagerly awaited the opportunity to visit and stay at the newly renovated TWA Hotel on location at JFK airport.
The TWA Hotel opened in May of 2019 following a two year $265 million restoration of the Eero Saarinen TWA Flight Center which was first built in 1962. The flight center building is now the lobby of the 512 room TWA hotel. One of the hotels top features is a rooftop infinity pool and observation deck containing lounges and cocktail bar. In addition, the hotel has a sunken cocktail lounge in the lobby, and the Paris Café restaurant. One other outstanding attraction within the hotel premises is a cocktail bar located inside a decommissioned Lockheed Constellation.
For aviation enthusiasts the observation deck offers a panoramic view of runways 04L/22R and 4R/22L. When I visited in late summer the light was best for photography in the afternoon. Great photographs from the observation deck can be had of taxiing aircraft from international carriers at Terminal 4; in addition Terminal 5 is in easy view.
Depending on the size of the aircraft, focal lengths from approximately 80 to 320 mm will be needed for photographs of aircraft on the ramps and on the runways whilst shooting from the observation deck.
The cost of using the deck for photography seems to vary upon time of year. I recently inquired and was told that there is currently no charge in the winter, although parking your vehicle at the hotel is $40 per day. In the summer charges vary depending if you order food and beverages, therefore it is best to check with the hotel beforehand regarding fees for using the observation deck.
Of course one way to avoid all of the daily costs associated with using the deck is to stay overnight at the hotel, which is what I did. In fact I booked one of the rooms with a runway view. Needless to say I was up most of the time watching ramp and runway activity until the wee hours in the morning. For those that wish to sleep and are concerned about the noise, not to worry, thick 4.5 inch glass is used in the room and they are heavily soundproofed.
Although it is not cheap, I can wholeheartedly recommend visiting and staying at the hotel. The variety of aircraft and roof deck make the photography outstanding. The 60’s atmosphere at the hotel will put a smile on even the most jaded of customers. Just pick a few sunny days and book your stay, you will be rewarded with a great aviation experience.